Researchers have debunked the whole ‘obesity paradox’
Over the past few years, research has emerged to suggest that carrying a few extra pounds might actually be healthy: In fact, some studies even have linked obesity to a providing a survival benefit over being normal weight.
Researchers have dubbed that the “obesity paradox,” and it’s gained a lot of traction in the science world. But now, a new study casts some doubt on that line of thinking: People who are overweight or obese are more likely to die early than those of a normal weight, researchers from Boston University Medical Center found.
In the study, researchers had more than 225,000 complete questionnaires every two years for about 16 years that tracked their weight, health habits, and health problems.
They discovered that with maximum body mass indexes (BMI) in the overweight or obese category were significantly more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, or any other cause during the 12-year follow up than those of a normal weight were.
In fact, people who were very obese—a BMI of 35 or above—were 73 percent more likely to die during the follow up than those with a normal BMI.
The design of prior studies—using BMI measurements at just one point in time—left them vulnerable to reverse causation, the researchers said in a press release.
That means the condition that would ultimately be responsible for the person’s premature death might be bringing their BMI down.
So it would appear that the higher BMIs were protective, but it just may have been the lower BMIs were indicative of a brewing disease.
But this study looked at maximum BMI in the context of an extended weight history, which reduces the risk of reverse causation and provides a more accurate health risk assessment.
So if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, take this latest research as motivation to start shedding them. Here’s the 10 easiest ways to start losing weight.